Monday, November 15, 2010

Old Chairs

This chair is rather beat-up and quite worn. It's old, but technically not an antique. There is evidence of numerous honest repairs. When I say honest, I mean there has been no effort the conceal the fixes. The underside has a number of wood blocks and cleats that have been added over the years. The lines may not be that great; it has a bit of a blocky feel to it. To my eyes the top back extension looks like an afterthought. It was made of local maple in Faribault, Minnesota, probably by the Peterson Art Furniture Company or possibly the Faribault Furniture Company. And it sits like a dream!  Nice curve to the seat and back, everything the right proportions. If form follows function, and it's function is to seat you comfortably at a table for a long period of time, this is a beautiful chair. It is beautiful! It is a chair from the Old Mill Restaurant. It is one of the last of the old chairs, probably sixty years old. The owner, Dave Forland, eventually got tired of continually rebuilding them. Last Thursday he asked if we were interested in some of the old chairs. I've celebrated anniversaries, birthdays, retirements, marked most of my good life occasions in these chairs. I've stayed too late, drinking good wine and sharing good times, with my ass planted in these chairs for a good portion of my life. I was ... interested. As of today, I own five of them. They do need some minimal restoration. Patina? Can wood have patina? I guess not, but there is actually party glitter embedded in the remaining gummy finish, and wine stains in the wood where the finish has worn off. Obviously it would be a travesty to have them stripped and refinished. I think I'll just clean them good and touch them up a little here and there, rub them down with tung oil and let it go at that.


Oldfool said...

I agree. That is a beautiful chair. Once upon a time I thought that before I died I would build a chair. I have built several uncomfortable chairs and discarded them. Now I find that I cannot resist making honest repairs to old chairs. I have no place to put them and nobody wants them in this rich land but I do it anyway.

Gunnar Berg said...

The chairs that they may replace, at least three of them, are Windsors made for me by a friend. I've had them for 20 years. I've been thinking maybe his kids would like them. We'll see.